The Creator is the seed as well as the primordial engine of Creation. The Creator started the Creation out of Its own divine essence, so everything is a shard and a reflection of the Creator itself. This means that everything has magic in it, hidden as it might be. It also means that everything is connected and that’s the basic principle on which magic is built.
The main connection on which magic relies is that with the Spirits whose action keeps the Creation flowing. Every aspect of reality is managed and fueled by the High, Middle and Low Spirits and that’s the principle magic users employ to work their magic and Shape the Tides. By knowledge and conscience, they intensify the connection with the Spirits concerned with those aspects of reality their spell is meddling with, focusing and directing their action as it suites their purpose. For this reason scholars avoid the popular term “magic” and prefer to call it Spirit the Waters or, more conversationally (since they love to converse), Spiritism. Consequently, those who use magic are usually called Spiritists.
Since Spirit the Waters is a mean of involving oneself with the most fluid aspects of reality, it is also colloquially called Sail Without Ship.
This is partially due to the terms scholars chose to define the three main components of any form of Spiritism: Chart, Course and Route constitute the Triangle of Spirits.
The Chart is the nautical map of all the Waters a Spiritist can Sail Without Ship.
The Course is the direction a Spiritist’s conscience goes to find a way to Shape the Tides.
The Route defines which aspect of the Spiritist’s soul fuels her magic.
To onlookers, it may seem that there are countless ways to Spirit the Waters, since the outside forms of magic vary greatly from culture to culture and from age to age, but what really defines a Spiritist’s practice are the three aspects above.
Almost all Dwarves rely on arcane symbols recalling stars position and planets movement, while Elves have a more intuitive way of Shaping the Tides. Human magic differs almost completely regarding where you go, while Sophians learn from everybody and then just do their way.
This is just the surface: truly, there are as many styles of Spirtism as there are Spiritsts, but what really matters is the Triangle of Spirits. Two Spiritists with same Chart and on the same Course and Route may look completely different while doing the very same thing: the principles are the same, but what puts them in action is the conscience of the Spiritist, and that is simply unique.
Since magic is the art of shaping reality, and everything in the Thousand Tides has magic in it, it’s no wonder that many consider every form of art to be somewhat magical in nature: music is magic operated by the laws of harmony (and the Bards, with their powers, seem to confirm this view), while Gnomes Alchemy is Magic by the laws of nature (and there’s no lack of scholars who say the same about agriculture), and there’s no need to mention how magic fits into the art of Shipcraft.